Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and
sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and
reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.
In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy
and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from climate change.
penny saved is a penny earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Less is the new more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” – Albert Einstein
GLOBAL FUTURE OF GREEN CAPITALISM
Dr. Marc A. Weiss, Chairman and CEO, Global Urban Development, and Chairman, Sustainable Economic Development
Strategies LLC, and James Hurd Nixon, President, Global Urban Development, and President, Sustainable Economic Development
People around the world are embracing Green Capitalism
because it is now possible to create a higher standard of living for every person and community by shifting from resource-wasting
to resource-saving industrialism. In the 21st Century, people, places, and organizations will literally “get richer
by becoming greener” -- earning and saving more money by conserving and reusing resources more efficiently.
Global Urban Development (GUD) is designing and implementing Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to help
enable Green Capitalism to succeed worldwide. This model adapts sustainable business concepts from experts including
Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins, Ray Anderson, Hazel Henderson, Peter Senge, Karl-Henrik Robert, Thomas Friedman, William
McDonough, Daniel Esty, Elliott Hoffman, Aron Cramer, and the McKinsey Global Institute, as applied in various ways by companies
such as GE, IBM, Toyota, Interface, IKEA, DuPont, Disney, Wal-Mart, Google, Nike, Stonyfield Farm, Seventh Generation,
Siemens, Cisco, Applied Materials, and Johnson Controls. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies apply
these concepts to sub-national economies, including states, provinces, regions, districts, counties, cities, towns, villages,
Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate
substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business and community development by demonstrating that innovation,
efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes,
productivity, and competitiveness. In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most
cost-effective method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful
impacts from climate change. A Sustainable Economic Development Strategy has four key elements, which GUD
refers to as the Four Greens:
costs for businesses, families, communities, and governments by efficiently using renewable resources and by reducing and
jobs and incomes through business development and expanding markets for resource efficiency, sustainability, and clean technologies.
Green Talent—investing in
fundamental assets such as education, research, technological innovation, and modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills,
because people are now the world’s most vital green economic resource.
Green Places—establishing sustainable transportation and infrastructure,
and protecting and enhancing the natural and built environment, to create more attractive, livable, healthy, vibrant, prosperous, productive,
and resource-efficient areas and communities.
there are success stories in which business sustainability principles have guided economic development. People in the
State of California saved $56 billion on energy costs between 1973 and 2006, primarily from policies requiring higher energy
efficiency standards for new buildings, new electrical appliances, and new motor vehicles, combined with financial incentives
for utility companies, businesses, and households to conserve energy and use renewable resources. Consumers reinvested
much of this savings in the state's economy, generating 1.5 million new full-time jobs with a total annual payroll of $45
Similarly, people in metropolitan Portland (Oregon/Washington)
save more than $2 billion annually due to land-use and transportation changes over the past three decades. By modestly
increasing population and building densities and developing light-rail transit, together with mixed-use communities built
to promote walking and bicycling, Portlanders have substantially reduced vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions,
while jobs, incomes, and investments have grown significantly since 1980.
Throughout the world, from Singapore to Stockholm, urban regions have improved their economies by becoming more sustainable.
Some of these places are profiled in the World Bank’s “Eco2 Cities” report. Curitiba,
Brazil is a leading example of a city with a successful four-decade economic development strategy based on growing businesses,
jobs, and incomes by improving urban quality of life through innovative land-use and transportation planning and related environmental
and social initiatives. One of Curitiba’s innovations, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), has become a model
for sustainable transportation and land-use planning in many cities and regions worldwide.
During June 7-8, 2011 in Curitiba, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas held an international
conference, sponsored by the Brazil and U.S. Governments, on “Planning for Sustainable Economic Development Across the
Americas.” GUD worked with the American Planning Association, the City of Curitiba, and the U.S.
State Department to organize this historic meeting exploring the potential benefits of state/provincial, regional, and local
Sustainable Economic Development Strategies from Argentina to Canada.
has worked with places including San Antonio, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Southwest Florida, Metropolitan Portland, Metropolitan
Denver, and the State of Delaware, using our four-part framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to save money,
create jobs, raise incomes, grow businesses, and improve the environment. Recently GUD completed a Sustainable Economic Development
Strategy, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, for Sarasota County, Florida to become a “Center for Innovation in
Energy and Sustainability.”
In March 2011, Global Urban Development published
Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, describing in detail the key elements of the various
strategies, and explaining how to design and implement such approaches most effectively. This document
can be downloaded from our website at http://www.globalurban.org/.
Click here to download a PDF of The Global Future of Green Capitalism.
Below is an excerpt from the publication:
PART ONE: UNDERSTANDING Sustainable Economic
I. Sustainability 3.0
Global Urban Development formulated a framework for Sustainable Economic Development Strategies to assist
communities, cities, counties, regions, states, provinces, and nations (places) to accelerate progress toward a sustainable
Sustainable Development combines two seemingly disparate ideas into a powerful new concept, connecting the
environment/climate crisis with the opportunity for large-scale economic prosperity—asserting that the imperative to
address the environment/climate crisis offers the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st
From the GUD perspective, there are three basic
forms of Sustainability:
3.0—Sustainable Economic Development.
(See Appendix B for a brief discussion of the three basic forms of
Global Urban Development works with places to
accomplish Sustainability 3.0—Sustainable Economic Development—by joining with them to design and implement Sustainable
Economic Development Strategies.
Sustainable Economic Development Strategies generate substantial economic and employment growth and sustainable business
and community development by demonstrating that innovation, efficiency, and conservation in the use and reuse of all natural
and human resources is the best way to increase jobs, incomes, productivity, and competitiveness.
In addition, Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are the most cost-effective
method of promoting renewable energy and clean technologies, protecting the environment, and preventing harmful impacts from
By implementing Sustainable Economic Development
Strategies based on technological innovation and resource efficiency, places can grow their economies, improve their standards
of living, and expand businesses, jobs, and incomes.
II. Creating a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy
The transition to a
carbon-constrained world will drive profound changes in every business, non-governmental organization, and household as well
as every city, county, region, state, and nation. The question is whether the transition will be dominated
by a potentially chaotic response to emergencies or a more orderly process of careful design, implementation, and evaluation.
The premise behind
the creation of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy is that a more orderly response to this inevitable transformation
can be proactively organized and managed, and that this will lead to significant and widespread economic benefits.
Each place is unique. A Sustainable Economic Development
Strategy cannot be mechanically imposed. Rather it must grow out of the special conditions and the dynamic
trajectory of each place. Sustainable Economic Development Strategies are guided by a local/regional Leadership
Structure and a Consultation Team collaborating in partnership through a series of five distinct phases of work.
Leadership Structure: Typically, the leadership
structure for a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy includes three elements:
1. A Leadership Group, which is usually a pre-existing local/regional organization that has
committed to lead the effort.
Decision-Making Council, made up of the key leaders from a variety of different organizations, who are guiding the creation
and implementation of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy.
3. A broader Stakeholder Advisory Group, composed of the full range of public, private, and civic stakeholders
supporting the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy, who are advising the process.
Global Urban Development organizes Sustainable Economic Development Consultation Teams to assist in the Sustainable
Economic Development Strategy formation and implementation process. Sustainable Economic Development Consultation
Teams are headed by one or more generalists with extensive professional experience in Sustainable Economic Development.
The generalists are responsible for maintaining
the client relationships and coordinating the Consultation Teams. Specialists are added to the Teams, as
needed, to address the specific dimensions of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy that are custom-designed for each
particular place and situation.
Economic Development Strategy consultations outside of the U.S., Consultation Teams include both global and local Sustainable
Economic Development experts.
Phases of Work:
There are five phases of work involved in the development and implementation of a Sustainable Economic Development
An Initial Consultation to establish
the goals and objectives and the work plan for the process.
2. A Strategic Assessment and Opportunity Analysis of the area-wide economy, to identify its current direction,
its strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and challenges for Sustainable Economic Development.
3. Design of a Sustainable Economic Development Strategy that builds
on the momentum that already exists, establishes a specific focus, and weaves together a set of Initiatives and Actions to
create a clear, coherent, easily understood, dynamic strategy, with a strong business model.
4. Formulation of an Implementation Plan—including a system for monitoring progress—that
addresses who is responsible for each Initiative and Action, the timeline and milestones, the costs, the sources of potential
revenues, and the processes for mid-course corrections.
5. Initiation and, subsequently, full implementation of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategy and Implementation
PART TWO: THE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK
The 4 Core Objectives of Sustainable Economic Development
Global Urban Development
has evolved the Sustainable Economic Development Strategic Framework to provide a comprehensive methodology for assisting
in the design and implementation of Sustainable Economic Development Strategies focused on four core objectives:
§ Green Savings—encouraging businesses, households, and governments to cut costs by
using clean, efficient, renewable resources and by reducing and reusing waste.
§ Green Opportunities—growing Cleantech and Green businesses, jobs, and incomes
and expanding markets for resource efficiency and sustainability.
§ Green Talent—investing in fundamental assets such as education, research, technological
innovation, and modern entrepreneurial and workforce skills, because people are now the world's most vital green economic
§ Green Places—promoting Eco-Smart Development that is
based on sustainable transportation and infrastructure, and protects and enhances the natural and built environment to create
more attractive, livable, healthy, vibrant, prosperous, productive, and resource-efficient areas and communities.
Green Savings addresses the demand side of markets for green products and services,
while Green Opportunities deals with the supply side of green markets. Green
Talent focuses on the human resources dimension of green markets, and Green Places
focuses on the geographic dimension of green markets (both of them relate to the demand side and to the supply side).
IV. Key Elements of a Sustainable
Economic Development Strategy
Within the context of its four core objectives, the Sustainable Economic
Development Strategic Framework utilizes a set of Key Elements to:
the sustainability assets, liabilities, opportunities, and challenges of places.
§ Design Sustainable Economic Development Strategies, composed of Initiatives
and Actions, that build on the assets, address the liabilities, take advantage of the opportunities, respond to the challenges,
monitor ongoing performance, and measure results/outcomes.
The Key Elements of the Sustainable Economic Development Strategic
Framework have been generated by systematically applying innovative sustainability perspectives to widely accepted economic
development best practices. (See Appendix C for a discussion of Sustainable Economic Development.)
Green Savings (The
Demand Side of Green Markets)
Green Businesses, Public Agencies, and Non-Governmental
the environmental and financial performance of existing business firms (whether or not they produce an environmental
product or service), government agencies, and non-governmental organizations and the potentialities for implementing significant
increases in energy conservation, resource efficiency, waste reduction, and financial return.
Green Building Retrofits: the financial/energy/resource
efficiency of existing buildings and building user behavior, and the possibilities for large-scale building retrofits.
the level of adoption of Green Savings by households and the opportunities for undertaking large scale citizen mobilizations
to encourage households to reduce environmental impacts and adopt green buying practices.
Green Opportunities (The Supply Side
of Green Markets)
Cleantech Cluster: the status and the potentiality for growth of the businesses included in
the Cleantech business cluster that provide a range of environmental products, services, and processes intended to offer superior
performance at lower costs, while reducing negative ecological impacts, and improving the wise and responsible use of natural
resources. (See Appendix D for a discussion of the Cleantech Cluster and the global venture investment
Cleantech businesses are receiving.)
Cleantech Technology Transfer: the current situation and the opportunities for
strengthening of university and institutional research and development (R&D) leading to technology transfer and intellectual
property (IP) commercialization that can be utilized by Cleantech companies to produce new Cleantech products and services.
Green and Cleantech Business Support: the economic and social infrastructure
that is in place and the opportunities for improvement in relation to business incubation, acceleration, retention, and attraction—creating
an optimal place for Cleantech and green businesses to locate, expand, and grow over the long term.
Triple Bottom Line Investment: existing and potential investment
vehicles—both debt and equity—pursuing financial, social, and environmental returns through investment in Cleantech
and green businesses and sustainable real estate developments.
Green Talent (The
Human Resources Dimension of Green Markets)
Green Workforce: established systems and new opportunities for
green employment development—including education, training, placement with career pathways, and other forms of assistance—to
attract and retain a high quality green workforce that provides the employees, entrepreneurs, and management needed by Cleantech
and green businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.
Green Community Engagement: existing and potential programs
for the engagement of the talent and creativity of the residents of a place in understanding sustainability, in participating
in the process of building a sustainable/green economy, and in making green purchasing decisions.
Green Places (The
Geographic Dimension of Green Markets)
Eco-Smart Real Estate Development: the construction—both infill and Greenfield—of
mixed-use, walkable, energy efficient, transit-oriented real estate developments featuring Cleantech and green businesses
and the opportunities for new sustainable real estate development projects.
Green Physical Infrastructure: the financial/energy/resource/information
efficiency of water, energy, transportation, waste management, and broadband infrastructure as well as the potentialities
for significant increases in overall efficiency and financial performance of the physical infrastructure.
Green Branding and Marketing: existing and potential branding and marketing of a
place as an emerging sustainable economy, seeking to promote the growth of Cleantech and green businesses and sustainable
real estate developments, as well as to attract these types of businesses and real estate developments.
Sustainable Community Development: existence of Cleantech and green businesses and
sustainable real estate developments led and participated in by minorities, women, and underserved communities and opportunities
to connect these businesses and developments with the appropriate financial and business acceleration services; as well as
the empowerment of low- and moderate-income employees and residents to save money through resource efficiency.